As Winston Churchill once said, “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. This wide land of great mystery with its wintery landscape and uhm...colourful history leaves so much for the mind to fill in. That is, unless you have been there yourself. There is so much to see, discover and experience.
If you're scratching your head wondering why Russia should be on your post-pandemic travel list, we have listed down 7 reasons why.
1. Its geographical location
Did you know that...Russia is famously known as the largest country in Europe with land mass bigger than the size of planet Pluto? It's often referred to as a transcontinental country connecting Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, sharing its borders with 14 countries including China and North Korea. Its stunning cities imbued with its unique history and diverse culture, and unexplored wilderness leaves much to the imagination and continues to entice travellers from all over the world all year round.
2. Stunning art & architecture
As a result of sharing its borders with European and Asian countries, the Russian culture is rather unique with a wide array of diversity molding into its culture, food as well as its art and architecture. As such, art and architecture are deeply intertwined in Russia, reflected through its unusual shaped buildings donning fascinating colors that never fails to capture one's sight and appreciation for design. A stroll through Moscow or Saint Peterburgs will give you a preview of what Russia has to offer through its buildings such as the iconic St. Basil's Cathedral.
3. Colorful culture & rich history
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Its rich history dates back to the 9th century when the country was ruled by tsar (a king) with the most famous being the 300-year old Romanov dynasty. Russia was formerly under the Slavic ethnic group with influences from a plethora of foreign cultures. They have gone through multiple cultural revolution before settling in the modern period. It was not till the18th century that Russia embraces the cultural heritage of Western Europe with influences from its neighbours. Furthermore, Russia's lifestyles also varies based on its region's geographical location, having experiences different temperatures.
4. 11 Time Zones
The world is divided into 24 time zones, and being a transcontinental country, Russia has 11 of them. This means that when the western regions of the country are asleep, the east of Russia is still in the middle of a working day. For the would-be-traveller, this is particular pertinent information if you're planning to travel across Russia.
Source: World Atlas
The advent of railroads is what created the need to accurately synchronise time with other localities, and time zones were introduced. In the Russian Empire, the railroads used St Petersburg time for all schedules. Officially, Russia joined the international system of time zones only after the Bolshevik Revolution.
5. Lake Baikal
The oldest (25 million years to be exact) and largest freshwater lake in the world is located in the mountainous region of Serbia, just up north of the Mongolian border. In 1996, Lake Baikal was declared as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Interestingly, as it's over an active continental rift, the lake continues to grow deeper and wider as time goes by.
Photo by Sergey Pesterev on Flickr
The unique nature of Baikal creates favorable conditions for a lot of animals that do not live in other places of the planet. The majority of the endemic animals of the Lake today are protected such as the Ringed seal Baikal’s main symbol and the only seal in the world that can live in fresh water. Being the largest lake in Russia, there are 27 uninhabited islands in Lake Baikal.
6. Understanding the Russian language & writing
There are, in fact, 35 different official languages in various parts of Russia but the most widely spoken is unsurprisingly Russian. The language derives from the East Slavic language native to Russian in Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Belarus and some of the Baltic States also shared this language. It was only in 2020 that president Vladimir Putin amended the constitution declaring Russian as the language of the “state forming people', making it officially its national language.
Photo by Anna Samaloyna on Unsplash
7. Longest railway line
Russia is also home to the longest railway line in the world; the Trans-Siberian Railway. With a length of 9,289 kilometers and crossing through 8 of the 11 time zones, it take approximately a week on the train to travel the whole route. The train commences from Moscow to the Pacific station of Vladivostok, a major port city which is near to the borders of China and North Korea.
The Trans-Siberian Railway also gives you an opportunity to explore the less-known cities and towns in the Russian countryside. This adventure can take up to 19-20 days as the next train for the next leg of your journey will only come along every other few days.
Also read our Top 5 FAQs about the Grand Trans-Siberian.
These 7 reasons are a mere interpretation of Russia as a country in words, a depiction of what awaits when one day you can visit it. If Russia is now on your travel bucket list, Sedunia Travel has a myriad of tour packages and travel arrangements to help you find your way around Russia with little hassle. Check out their website and speak to one of their travel consultant to get started.
Subscribe also to their weekly newsletter to be notified on the latest packages and promotions that they have on Russia!